“Religion has convinced people that there’s an invisible man … living in the sky. Who watches everything you do every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a list of ten specific things he doesn’t want you to do. And if you do any of these things, he will send you to a special place, of burning and fire and smoke and torture … Continue reading How The Other Side Sees It….
Right after 9/11, I asked a kid in my neighborhood what we should do in response. His answer: “Those people did something very wrong…” He thought pensively and continued, “But two wrongs don’t make a right.” As Martin Luther King taught us, you cannot fight fire with fire, you only get a bigger fire. You fight fire with water. You fight violence with nonviolence. You … Continue reading Shane Claiborne’s Statement on Syria – Red Letter Christians
3) We turn Christianity into a culture rather than a lifestyle. We have turned Christianity into a market. We have reduced Christianity to products we consume, sell, and advertise. We are more about profits than prophets. Christianity has become a culture rather than a lifestyle. We’ve been taught to consume Christian products rather than being Christian. We’ve been taught to be salespeople for Jesus rather … Continue reading Inspiring Quotes…
The Lord’s prayer is rightly the most spoken prayer in Christianity. But there are several statement in that prayer that are for the most part glossed over by many in the current day church. One of the most obvious is “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven”. Here is what Martin Luther thought of these words: The good … Continue reading He Told Us How To Do It……
I want to apologize to those of you who read this blog. It seems I have just lost the energy to continue to post here on a regular basis. The futility of convincing some to look at Jesus’ words in a different light has simply become too exhausting for me. Convincing people to concentrate on “being” a Christian as apposed to just believing certain things … Continue reading Lost Energy….
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” – John 1:1, ESV The Bible is not the “Word of God.” It is inspired by the Holy Spirit. It contains words of God. It even talks about the Word of God… but it is still not THE Word of God. The Word of God is actually Jesus … Continue reading Mislabeling the Word of God – Red Letter Christians
Jesus says some stuff in the inaugural speech of his ministry that really upsets the status quo of both the religious and non-religious. In essence, he says, “If you are to follow me as King of this newly inaugurated Kingdom of God, you will need to start loving your enemies as much as yourself. You will need to start getting creative in how you deal … Continue reading Jesus Was A Radical…..
We spent the last two posts reviewing an article entitled “The Six Worst Things About American Christianity” from RedLetterChristians by Steven Mattson. Now that I have had a few days to digest these words I want to turn the article’s six points around to imagine them as lessons we U.S. Christians should learn. Here they are: 1) We must realize that no one has an … Continue reading Six Lessons to Learn in U.S. Christianity….
This “new” Christianity is sick of culture wars, political agendas, hypocrisy and legalistic doctrines. They prefer inclusion over restriction, dialogue over debate, practice over preaching, and love over judgment. Authentic communities are preferred over institutionalized organizations, and grassroots groups gain wisdom and knowledge from relational interaction, social media, the web, and an array of other sources—there is no monopoly controlling leadership or sources of information… … Continue reading The Times, They Are A-Changin….
While Tertullian emphasized the negative aspects of the military to Christian discipleship, Origen pointed out the positive vision of a life of Christian peacemaking. He criticized the army as a society of “professional violence,” pointing out that Jesus forbids any kind of violence or vengeance against another. “We will not raise arms against any other nation, we will not practice the art of war,” he … Continue reading Early Christians and War….
Let’s continue on with our brief study of the Gospel of Mark. This time it will be about people’s faith and the Bread. I know that seems like two different things but let me try to tie them together. During those days another large crowd gathered. Since they had nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion for these … Continue reading About The Bread…
Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.” “Why were you searching for me?” he asked.“Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” But they did not … Continue reading A Maturing Jesus??
As mentioned a few posts ago Jesus had some very stinging words about the religiously powerful of his day. The Gospel of Mark 7 is one of those places. Lets study some of those words. He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written:” ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship … Continue reading Religiously Powerful…
Let’s get back to a study of the Red Letter to learn how we are to live. He said to them, “Do you bring in a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed? Instead, don’t you put it on its stand? For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the … Continue reading Hiding The Light….
This is the true purpose of satire: to mock power. It is, truly, the language of the powerless. From the biblical prophets, to Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, to Swift, to Twain, to Orwell to our beloved Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, satire works best when the targets are the powerful and elite—be they institutions or people. Jesus’ sharpest comments were always directed toward the politically or … Continue reading Christians and Humor….
Emergent congregations are especially well equipped to live creatively in the newly post-Western Christianity. They are careful not to confuse the life and message of Jesus with the “Western” elements in which it has been packaged. They try to assign equal weight to both the message and the context so that a new version of the old story can take shape. They strongly underline “living … Continue reading Living The Message….
For example, let’s say we approach the Bible with this question: How should we treat our enemies? Matthew 5:44 tells us to love them. Romans 12:17–21 tells us to do good to them and never seek revenge against them. First Peter 3:13–17 tells us to suffer at their hands and set an example for them. Psalm 137:9 says we should joyfully dash their infants against … Continue reading The Old vs. The New….
“The gospel is absurd and the life of Jesus is meaningless unless we believe that He lived, died, and rose again with but one purpose in mind: to make brand-new creation. via What it means to be a Christian…. These words come from Rachel Held Evans blog but are the words of Brennan Manning. Until I had read them I was unaware of who he … Continue reading What it means to be a Christian…
Since the very beginning, the disciples of Jesus have tried to destroy the opposition. Instead of patiently awaiting the transformation of others, we’ve quickly divided the world into “us” and “them.” We haven’t even reserved this distinction for those of other religions. We’re intolerant of any deviation from the party line. Catholics thought Protestants apostate and damned. Protestants returned the favor, then splintered into a … Continue reading Exclusivity of Salvation..
Occasionally people knock on my door or hand me a tract on a street corner or strike up a conversation with the aim of asking, “Are you saved?” Even before I believed in the salvation of every person, I always answered with an enthusiastic yes. Often, rather than sharing my elation, my inquisitors would look me up and down with a dubious eye and ask … Continue reading Are You Saved???
I am saddened by how many people are afraid of God, projecting their negative experiences with parents and the Church onto God. Often we’ve reinforced these false images of God. I assured Susan her Father in heaven was different from her earthly father. I could tell she wanted to believe me but still hesitated. Susan asked me, “What if you’re wrong, and I believe you … Continue reading Being Afraid of God…. (Part 1)
For what good is grace—this unconditional love of God—if it is not extended to those who deserve it the least but need it the most? God is love. Holiness and justice are not competing commitments. God has not chosen to turn his back on us or to punish us as our sins deserve. God has chosen to redeem us. Nothing requires God to condemn us, … Continue reading To Those Who Need It The Most…..
I got to thinking the other day about how I am different than I was ten years ago and especially twenty years ago. Although much is the same a lot has also changed in my life in those years. I have a friend at the soup kitchen where I volunteer who proudly wears a T-shirt that says “Thank God, I am not the man I … Continue reading On The Path….
”Can you imagine our Savior dying for all of us, yet we have to argue over just whether he did die for us personally, and not for you. Sometimes you wonder if His lessons of sacrifice and devotion was pretty near lost on a lot of us.” – Will Rogers, 7 April 1935 Those who follow my at my other blog at RJs Corner … Continue reading Didn’t Die For Us Personally…
Many share my love for Jesus. We accepted him as Lord. We were baptized in his name. We became his disciples. We worshiped and adored him. Yet we’ve often divorced the words and actions of Jesus from the God he worshiped and adored. We’ve forgotten the very one Jesus came to reveal. Those of us raised in the Church have a good excuse for this … Continue reading God’s Wrath….
I’ve never experienced a God of wrath. I’ve heard such a God preached. I’ve read of such a God. I’ve encountered wrathful people who claimed to be acting on God’s behalf. I’ve even allowed such sentiments to tarnish my view of God. Yet, in the midst of all these distortions, I never experienced a wrathful God. The God I’ve experienced is the God of Jesus—a … Continue reading If Grace Is True…..
As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered.“No one is good—except God alone. Mark 10:17-18 These words have always troubled me to one extent or another. Let me explain why. The story which they came … Continue reading Except God Alone….
Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’ You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions. You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of … Continue reading Merely Human Rules….
All of this makes me wonder if pews are misleading in churches. They trick people into thinking that Christians learn best by sitting quietly in rows, listening to lectures, and memorizing ideas about the faith. But churches should not be lecture halls. The above short quote got my attention. It is from a book by Diane Butler Bass entitled Christianity After Religion: The End of Church … Continue reading Churches Are Misleading….
I have now spent several posts on the emergent church. It is time to get back to the red letters to see what Jesus wants to teach us. “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, … Continue reading Away From Me!!!